Thursday, August 26, 2004

On Anger And Being Pressure-Cooked

I've earlier expressed here how much I'm into Birdy's net diary/blog. Here are some excerpts of Birdy's recent net column on anger, freely translated from Finnish. I think she hits the nail on the head here, on the feelings of anger and how society sees it better to suppress them the best it can. There's a lot of latent violence in this society; a lot of people who live from day to day like being constantly pressure-cooked. Showing one's anger or aggression is not encouraged in most social situations, which is all good to maintain society's day-to-day consistence, but those feelings considered negative seem to be only swept away under the carpet, making the occasional outbursts of violence even worse. The ancient Greek used to hold as their maxim "Know thyself"; and one's dark side is also something we have to deal with, perhaps even more often than we realise. A lot of anger is childish, of course; undergoings of the feelings of hurt egos, but there is also anger that is justified: in the face of unfair social situations and one's being subjected power games; in the face of oppression and unequality.

"Being angry does not make anyone a Satanic hound of darkness or a destructive psychopath. Instead, the people who deny their own feelings of anger make me scared. When that soup keeps brewing and growing inside a high pressure kettle, one becomes a walking time bomb."

"An angry person is angry. The one who denies one's anger can't accept the feelings of anger in him/herself, not to talk about the other person's anger: an angry person is to an anger-denier a mad and destructive being. Being angry is demonised. An angry person is seen nearly as a monster, whereas one's own angry behaviour is seen as something of a Mother Theresa or a Dalai Lama. Ms. Jekyll feels like she's encountering Ms. Hyde."

"How can a child learn to handle the feelings of anger and express those in a correct way, if s/he doesn't have any healthy example to follow? How is the well-being of a person in a society, where any anger should be suppressed and kept under wraps?"

"Being angry is energetic and normal, and how to control it is an important skill. Being angry protects and destroys, depending exactly on how well one can handle it. Denying it won't improve one's skills to handle it. The passive aggression is the worst bane of human relationships: brooding, keeping silent, stealthy retort, 'forgetting', and other funny ways to vent out that hatred that can't be expressed openly. Passive aggression is also one's rising above, from which position one can handle one's angry neighbour like a little kid who has pooped on the floor -- at same time reinforcing one's own 'goodness', which is in reality merely arrogance."

"For many people conflict or being angry is like a plague, best avoided. Either sacrifing oneself with ongoing concessions (which causes the martyr syndrome and bitterness) or rising above, in other words avoiding." One should "understand that the opposite of love is not being angry but being indifferent".